Rome Travel Guide, in Pictures
If, like me, you love your Instagram pics to look on point – Rome is worth the trip to do just that. In this post I hope to give you a feel for this amazing city, give you some tips for your travels and finding the best experiences, and share my favourite photos from my trip.
Upon arrival we were immersed in the culture that Rome had to offer. Walking through the streets toward our hotel, surrounded by restaurants, music, smells of spaghetti and meatballs, and a vibrant city filled with life. I’m hoping to share these immersive experiences with you through my love for photography.
The colosseum was my #1 thing to see in Rome just simply because it is such an iconic monument that represents the unique history of the city. (Not forgetting my love for the movie ‘Gladiator’)
It’s hard to describe sites such as this, it is simply something that you have to go and see to truly appreciate the amazing attraction. But I hope to provide just a taste of what it is like.
It certainly did not disappoint..
The Colosseum is a must in order to experience the magnificent architecture and history. Be mindful, something I didn’t expect was to be asked in excess of 100 times if we want to “buy tickets” by random un-licensed sellers. Just a heads up..
Quick facts about the colosseum:
- 60,000 Jewish slaves built the colosseum
- 1 million animals were murdered here
- 400,000 people died on the grounds
- Construction took 6-8 years and was completed in 80AD
- Across the road is the Arch of constantine and the Palestine Hill.
As much as it is a spectacular site, it is slightly haunting to hear about the barbaric history of events that occurred there.
- €8 for EU members of Students
- €18 for non-EU members
All of the attractions are conveniently extremely close together. If you’re somewhat active you should have no issue walking around from site to site. The furthest attraction from the colosseum is the vatican which takes 35-40 mins (not bad for the furthest). We were going to purchase the metro pass but ended up using the metro twice at a whopping €1.50 per time!
The Vatican – St Peter’s Basilica
The only sunny day was on our visit to the incredible Vatican City, certainly an amazing must see on your visit. St Peter’s Bascillia featured the most amazing architecture and artwork – it is also completely free!! This was unclear what we had to pay for but to just see the church (St Peter’s Basilica) is free, you pay for the top view of the dome and for the sistine chapel.
We climbed the 800 steps to the peak of the dome to enjoy the amazing views of the city – totally worth the 25 minute climb!
As someone who is not into art, it is still of course an incredible experience. The pictures don’t do justice as to how amazing it truly was.
- Mass is normally held every Wednesday by the Pope
- Entrance to St Peter’s Basilica is Free, to go to the dome is what they charge for but it is worth the visit
These are some of my favourite pictures from the entire trip:
The Sistine Chapel
This is part of the Vatican museums, containing a range of artefacts and beautiful artwork from the history of Rome. Honestly the entire way through, the ceilings are beautifully designed and so it almost took away the suspense from the ‘grand reveal’ of the Sistine Chapel. However, the artwork is incredible, even from my perspective as someone who doesn’t know much about art, it wasn’t hard to take time to sit and enjoy.
The sistine Chapel is the spectacular painted ceiling by Michael Angelo, which is at the end of a visit to the vatican museums. They consist of some beautiful artworks, however if you are just interested in the Chapel, sadly you must go through to the end of the museum which takes up to 35 minutes in order to see the Chapel.
Of course it may not be ideal, but it is totally worth it as it is a must see whilst in Rome.
They have a strict ‘no photo’s’ rule and so I didn’t take any photo’s in the Chapel.
This is something that can be frustrating, but also it is sometimes important to appreciate the artwork and not try worrying about getting good lighting for your photo, or seeing everything through a phone/camera lens. Throughout my travels, as well as taking photos to remember the experiences and share them, I always think it’s important to take a minute to just enjoy whats right in front of you.
- They do not allow you to take photographs in the Sistine Chapel
- You must be dressed appropriately and act respectfully as these are places of worship. Ripped jeans are fine, simply they ask that you cover your body (T shirt and jeans, no vests or shorts)
- They do have cloakrooms free of charge
The Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel is considered one attraction. The price is:
€8 for EU residents (With valid ID)
€18 for a regular ticket
Another exciting attraction was the Castel Sant’Angelo. This was the castle used by many of the popes when the Vatican was under threat. The fortress is located within site of the Vatican city and offers beautiful views. Certainly recommend, we did all these attractions in 3 days it is certainly worth it!
In my opinion, it was something nice to see but the area is swimming with tourists, people selling selfie sticks and begging you to take your picture to then demand some money. Although it is a must see, one quick visit was plenty for me.
The Pantheon offers a lively area to walk through with shops, food and drink in the areas surrounding so certainly worth the visit as it is a free attraction.
This building can be seen from a lot of attractions in rome and is noticeable by the Chariots on top. I personally think it looks incredible so simply wanted to take pictures and give it a visit on the way to the Trevi Fountain because, why not?
Located next to the Trajan Forum and other ancient ruins so certainly worth it to check out the area!
These are the remains of the Roman square built in the 2nd Century. Certainly an amazing site to see, the detail is stunning. The area is surrounded by a number of sites.
Food And Drink
Each street is littered with tons of options for where to eat and drink, and almost all of them offer good food. I recommend using google maps as you can look easily at the reviews and images of food to get a good idea of what you fancy.
Check prices! Off peak (February) we never paid more than €10 for a plate of pasta, however in summer the prices jump up (Sometimes €30-€50 for a plate). Be sure you know how much everything is before you purchase as some people end up with hefty bills.
The food is simply amazing, be sure to try out the carbonara, wine grown from local wineries, and the gelato bars are amazing!! Even more amazing is a lot of restaurants were open till 12-1am, perfect to make the most out of the day.
The MUST Try Food and Drink:
- GELATO Is a necessity. It is essentially a creamier ice cream, with a lot more going on. They offer a range of flavours, my favourites were Nutella, pistachio and cookie.
- Pasta (Of course). Rome offers some of the best pasta dishes. Carbonara and Bolognese is a must have.
- Coffee. Of course no trip to Italy would be complete without tasting their amazing coffee.
- Pizza. Traditionally served as thin crust with fresh tomato.
- Wine. With an abundance of wineries in Italy, locally sourced wine is a unique treat.
Transport – getting around in Rome
To get to/from the airport is fairly straight forward. You have the option of paying for the regular train – taking around 1 hour to get to the central Rome station (Roma Termini). Costing around €8 each way.
Or option B is to take the Leonardo Express – its the simplest and nicest option, but it is more expensive at €14 each way. The perks are it is simple to access, it is direct without changes, and is just added convenience.
Purchase you’re tickets at the station at the machines – they are very easy to understand and the stations are well sign posted as to where to go.
In Rome, if you are in the centre I recommend walking as everything is so accessible, and you can see so much more walking through the streets, bumping into some great little shops/food places. Worth it! If you prefer, the Metro offers a one way ticket valid for 100 mins for one train journey at €1.50. So cheap! It is extremely simple to understand they only have 2 metro lines, A and B. So its possibly one of the simplest to understand.
I recommend the City Mapper App for using the Metro, its free and very helpful!
- Eat Gelato everyday because you’re going to miss it!!
- Be careful booking attractions in advance, you can end up paying more.
- Travel in off-peak season – Summer the prices jump up for food and drink, not forgetting the insane crowds and wait times!!
- Look for a central hotel – it is worth every penny! We were around 15 minutes walk from the colosseum (The Opera Hotel) which was perfect. In the centre you have access to great food, and you save money by not having to use the metro!
- Avoid the metro pass – unless you know you struggle to walk, don’t bother with the metro pass! One way is €1.50 and we found you experience a lot more walking through the streets than you do underground.
- Give yourself time at the Train station – coming into Roma Termini (the central station) it seems fairly easy to navigate. It was not until we were heading back to the airport that we realised that it was a 20 minute walk to the back of the station to catch the train
- Ignore street sellers!! There are a lot of them ,trying to offer ‘advice’ or posing as official workers of the attractions. Quite simply ignore everyone until you’ve stood in line, entered the attraction and are stood at the official sales desk because people try and sell you tours, fake tickets etc. Also nothing is free, so people posing for pictures as gladiators, expect for them to demand money from everyone present as they use this pressurised sales technique to bully/trick people into handing over cash. Don’t be intimidated, just simply act like they’re not there and you’ll have no issue.
- There are two entrances to the vatican – the St Peter’s Basilica entrance (free to enter) and the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel entrance which you must pay to enter. Use google maps to search for each one and it directs you precisely to each entrance (approximately 10-15 minute walk to the other entrance.)
- They do check ID for student and discounted tickets – for example, they will ask for 4 ID’s if you are requiring 4 discounted tickets (They do not require ID for regular full priced tickets)
- If you have more time I would love to have visited Pompeii. It is around €24 return on the train and only a few hours travel time.
Thanks for Reading!!
I hope I offered an insight into what it was like to visit Rome. Understandably nothing is the same as being there in person, but i genuinely loved our trip and would absolutely recommend it as an affordable trip. The city has so much to offer.
Feel free to ask for any advice into finding the best deals.
Let me know what you’re favourite trip has been.